IN Assam, the electorate often alternates its preference between the Asom Gana Parishad (agp) and the Congress. The anti-incumbency factor against the agp, and the fact that the contest will now be triangular, gives the Congress an edge.
Yet CM Prafulla Kumar Mahanta is pulling out all stops to make a determined bid to return to power. Having ruled out an alliance with the bjp just a day before the Tehelka exposé, Mahanta has launched an offensive against the Centre’s “discrimination” of Assam and has simultaneously started wooing smaller parties for both pre- and post-poll tie-ups. Supporting him currently are the cpi, the cpi(m), the United People’s Party of Assam and the United Minorities Front (umf). “The Centre has been unfair to Assam in respect of financial assistance,” Mahanta told Outlook. “It has not reimbursed our security-related expenditure nor has the 10th Finance Commission been fair to us.”